This article focuses on a supernatural experience widely reported in the United States-the sightings of anomalous lights, including so-called "ghost lights," orbs, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), and other labels attached to the observance of unexplained lights or aerial phenomena. The use of folklore theory, an experience-centered approach, and cognitive anthropology provides an enriched perspective on how UFO experiences are perceived, interpreted, and incorporated into broader traditions. Considing a sample of the frequency rates of such expiences with this integrated approach reveals personal experience narratives to be both the foundation for modern belief in UFOs as well as the primary reason why the UFO phenomenon remains a fixture in American culture. Taken together, these approaches suggest that so-called UFO encounters are often based on real, sometimes bizarre experiences that both inform and are formed by existing cultural traditions and mental schemas. This article grows out of a larger study of anomalous light experiences among college students.

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